He was that crazy crocodile and snake man. The guy from Australia who, in his khakis, was chasing and wrestling crocodiles and snakes and who for many of us seemed just that little bit over the top. I remember watching his show back in Switzerland, thinking how crazy he was, jumping on the croc, then later having his little girl with him. Often he seemed totally over the top. Back then I did not see his deep message and the input he actually had in protecting endangered species and areas that were under threat.
It was only when we moved to Australia that I understood who the Crocodile Hunter truly was, what Steve Irwin’s message really was about. It was only then that I understood what a hero and ambassador he actually was.
My son loved watching his shows and he learned so many things from them. I spent hours watching my little boy doing snake shows with his rubber snakes and wrestling his rubber crocodiles. We “milked” his toy snakes using protective glasses and gloves (oh the imagination), a plastic syringe filled with water (which of course was the venom) and a cup with some Glad Wrap on top. I had to watch Crocodile Hunter show after show and my son pointed out all the mistakes I made when “milking” his toy snakes. It had to be perfect.
Steve Irwin passed away only shortly after we moved to Australia and he for sure left a Nation grieving for him. I remember sitting in front of the TV not knowing how to tell my son, who looked up to this man.
The Crocodile Hunter, as crazy as he might have seemed, left a huge seed in my son. A seed of respect for every creature out there, not just the fluffy, fury ones. His shows educated not only him but us as well. So when we first went up to his Zoo in Queensland the emotions got the better of me. He was present there. Everywhere. His message was everywhere and the people who were involved seemed to have been handpicked.
Up there he was still alive, still around.
His wife and his children continued what he had started and still are.
When I saw this clip, when I saw Bindi talk about her dad and then watched her dance, the emotions got to me again. He was a guy who put everything into making this world a better place for everyone and the generations to come. Although leaving too early he managed to plant a seed in everyone who followed him.
He not only taught me a lot about all kind of animals but also a lot about educating your children about every tiny little thing. And he told me not to judge. To really try to understand someone for who this person is. I’ll be forever thankful for all those hours I had to sit on our sofa, watching “The Crocodile Hunter” with my son over and over again, then listening to him repeat what he had learned and eventually watching my son do his little snake show, pretending he was this amazing Wildlife Warrior. The hours we had to move the rubber crocodiles from bathtub to his room and back, pretending we caught them somewhere in the wild and taking them to Australia Zoo were priceless.